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Phone Radiation Mutates DNA
Electric News
Journalist: Deirdre McArdle
December 23, 2004

A lab study has shown that radiation waves from mobile phones could be responsible for causing changes in body cells and damaging DNA.

The REFLEX study, which was conducted by 12 institutes from seven European countries and led by Verum, a German research group, examined the effects of mobile phone radiation on animal and human cells under laboratory conditions. It found that, after being exposed to electromagnetic fields, the cells showed a significant increase in DNA damage which could not always be repaired by the cell.

Additional damage was also recorded in the next generation of cells with some mutated and potentially cancerous cells appearing as well as other harmful effects on cells. The study can be viewed at it (pdf).

Worryingly the STG2.1 million study found that cells exposed to five-minute bursts of radio waves suffered more damage than those under constant radiation. It also found that older cells were more susceptible to low-frequency waves from power lines as well as the high frequencies released from handsets.

Depending on whether the phone is in use, and the strength of the signal, the radiation output from a handset can be anywhere from 2mW to about 1W, well within the limit of a Specific Absorption Rate (SAR), which is 2W/kg.

Researchers on the project have urged mobile users' not to panic, but have advised people to take precautions such as using a landline instead of a mobile phone when the option is available.

Despite the results of the REFLEX study, researchers were unable to conclude that these effects could be harmful to mobile users' health, saying that more research was needed to determine the potential health effects. Mobile manufacturers Motorola and Sony Ericsson have also called for more research on the subject.

This is the latest in a long line of studies on the potentially harmful effects of mobile phone radiation. Other studies have implied that radiation may heat up body tissue and cause headaches and nausea, and that older phones could cause tumours to develop.

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